“From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until about three in the afternoon....Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” -Matthew 27:45, 50-52
Dear FBCD Family and Friends,
Today, Thursday, April 20, 2017, felt more like Good Friday than last Friday, the real Good Friday, did. It may seem anti-climatic to be reflecting upon scriptures about Jesus’ crucifixion as we are now in the Easter season and having just celebrated in such grand fashion Jesus’ resurrection this past Sunday. Well...I couldn’t help but think about such a thing today. I stood with a family in a cemetery at the foot of an opened grave while a steady rain poured from the sky, complete with lighting and thunder flashing and crashing over our heads.
My 10 minutes of a cemetery experience this afternoon, took my mind to the words in Matthew’s gospel above. A friend of mine reminded me this week that when we read about the temple curtain being split in two, from top to bottom, we’re to acknowledge that not only did the crucifixion event make way for all people, no matter who they are to enter the temple freely, it also signified that the Divine was freed to leave the temple. It was a moment, we can imagine, of cataclysmic significance.
It was a point in time to remind everyone for all of eternity that we are partners together with each other and the Divine making it possible for the human race to experience peace, justice, and equality.
Now I’m not sure about you, but for me, the verse that stands out the most above states, “The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised."
It’s hard to imagine that this was intended to be a literal accounting of what happened in the crucifixion story. I wonder if the gospel writer wanted to heighten and challenge and stretch our human imaginations to wake us up even today to the possibilities that exist when we seek to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly?
Today, April 20, 2017, is the eighteenth anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre. It’s hard to believe how the years have passed. It’s harder to believe, and sadly so, how school shootings around the United States have become a social norm in our society.
In truth, there are many injustices that are taking place in our society that are becoming the norm. It is so easy for us has humans to become complacent and even complicit. I wonder how we might be awakened in this time and season of our congregation? of our city? of our country?
How can we be the hands and feet of Christ to the Metro-Denver community?
To be Christ’s hands and feet will take us from our zones of comfort for sure. To be Christ’s hands and feet always has.
We need only remember the story of Jesus to be reminded that to love costs always. What may it cost us today?
On this Thursday, Good Friday-like day, these are my thoughts.
First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.